When photographing Nature, I believe that some photographers (yes, including me) overlook or ignore gifts from Nature that are less than perfect. If a flower was missing a petal, or part of it had been food for insects, we keep going and look for a perfect specimen.
But Nature is not perfect. In the mix of wind and rain, sun and heat, growth and life, very few of Nature’s gems remain whole or without damage…
A few weeks ago, I found this small locust tree branch in a small puddle of water, frozen. What stopped me was seeing first that some of the leaves were partially consumed by insects or caterpillars, but then I noticed the pastel colors, and the one magenta leaf detached and apart from the branch, also frozen in the same puddle.
It was still beautiful, I thought, despite the age and wear. Nature had placed it there for me to find, so I could see the story of its brief existence, its natural beauty. I photographed the leaves and the ice and spent a few moments just looking. And I still think of the little branch and its lesson today.
Here is another image, this one of a single leaf, which if we saw hanging on the tree, or on the ground, we would pass by. But, with a little help from the sun, the leaf seems more alive with beautiful rim-light, and the reddish-brown patches glow, and one of the holes in the leaf lets the sun make its own statement…
A phrase we nature photographers hear often, and just as often repeat, is “just slow down”. When we do slow down, and look, there is so much more to see.
Slow down. Look. Prepare to be astonished!